9 November 2009

Friendship: Keep Swimming

  Lenore found a mud hole today, and threw her own stick in, and then retrieved it. Lenore loves life.

 Friendship has been a struggle for me, among others. I think it is especially difficult for men to make time for friends. They tend to be too busy, and value responsibility over friendship sometimes. I have made some close friends and lost most of them. Some, because I was not really available to be a friend. Others, because they weren't. I lost several friends when I moved to the farm. They just couldn't handle the idea of a middle-aged man heading upstate with donkeys, sheep and donkeys. I lost some friends when I got divorced.
  There are people who just flee trouble, something I saw a lot in the isolated families in hospice work. But real friendship has been a longtime goal of mine, and I am working at it. I think friends have to be patient. If you are a man, you have to value friendship as much as work and duty, tough for men to do. You have to make time for it. You have to be open. You have to work at it. You have to listen. You have to learn.
   I think friendship is part of the glue that holds life together. We all need to make friends. And be friends.

Pin Cushion, Studio Barn, Sunrise

The Last Apple

  You can read something into anything, I suppose, but the last apple on the apple tree behind the farmhouse has definitely caught my eye. I might take a daily photo of it, as it tries to hang on for the winter. All the other apples are gone, and I can't really imagine why this one should be so tenacious. In previous years, I fed the apples to the donkeys, or the sheep, and then the goats. Elvis the steer loved them as well. The apple-eating animals are gone, the farm up for sale, and I hope to move to a nearby
New Bedlam Farm where there is another apple tree. Nature comes and goes, does its own thing, while humans squabble and fret about their money and the state of the world. I'll be back with the camera tomorrow.
  The apple has its own message, I think. Life is good, life goes on. Savor it.

Meet us, get books signed, and calendars. Stock up for Christmas.

 Lenore is resting before her many appearances

  November 9, 2009 – Went to the dentist, clouding up. So weekends are getting booked up.
   Where you can meet us, get ASA calenders (potholders, too), get books signed, cuddle with Izzy, Lenore.

  November 22, 1 to 3 p.m. Union Village, Main St., Greenwich, N.Y. (518 692 -2034) Union Village sells books, paint, crafts,
classy furnishings, country style. The dogs and I will be on hand to sign books, calendars, meet and greet.

  November 29, 1 to 3 p.m. We will be at Gardenworks, Route 30, Salem (518 854-3250). Calendars, books, food and gifts.

  January 9, 2010. Redux Gallery, Dorset, Vt., photo show "Portraits of My Life," talk and photo exhibit by me, and the dogs, of course. Turned down several appearances and invitations this week. Time to say no. These will be fun. Come if you can.

Posted in General

Running To The Mountain

  About a decade ago, I left my life in urban America – where I was helping raise a daughter, and writing non-fiction and media criticism – and bought a cabin near Cambridge, N.Y. I was supposed to be writing a book about technology, but instead wrote about my rebirth at mid-life, a book called "Running To The Mountain." The book was an account of a personal breakout, external and internal, the search for a meaningful and spiritual life. It changed a lot of lives, I was to learn, especially mine. On every book tour, I meet a number of people who say it changed theirs as well.
 I did not imagine when I bought that cabin, about 10 miles from where I now live, just how much change I was opening the door too. Everything changes. How I lived. Where I lived. Who I lived with. What I wrote, and some years later, the seeds of that experience – photography, Maria, fiction – were still growing.
  The experience led to enormous growth, and staggering pain. A nervous breakdown of sorts, a re-examination of life, the search for love and help, the purchase of Bedlam Farm, a successful series of books written there, a life with animals. That process is still very much underway. I am still searching for a lot of things, and I have found some of them and not others. I doubt the process will ever end. I don't really want it to. Buying that cabin was the best thing I did, and the worst.
 So was buying the farm. Both metaphors for life, and the duality between stasis and change, loss and gain, pain and growth. I know unimaginable joy, and have experienced great sorrow and loss.
  I am  richer, wiser, growing still, changing always. When I ran to the mountain, I had no idea, really, how extraordinary a trip I was understaking. It's a process, a good friend always says. And I'm in it.